Let’s protect our students and ensure their health and safety. As the academic year comes to an end student accommodation begins to empty. This makes it much easier to access shower rooms in student accommodation, making it the perfect time, to think about planned and preventative maintenance for the year ahead. One of the important health and safety issues to consider is legionella control in your building water systems. One aspect of this maintenance would be keeping the shower heads and hoses in the student accommodation disinfected and scale free. SafeSol have the perfect single chemical solution to help you achieve clean, legionella free showers.

Why it is important to disinfect and descale your shower heads?

As showerheads are an aerosol generator they have the potential to create a fine mist that can disperse legionella bacteria. To keep your students safe it is extremely important that showerheads and hoses are cleaned and descaled at least quarterly. As owners and managers of student accommodation you must ensure that this obligation is fulfilled to prevent prosecution under the Health and Safety at Work act. Cleaning showers allows management companies to comply with the Health and Safety executives’ guidance “The control of legionella bacteria in hot and cold water systems HSG 274 Part 2“.

A little bit of background information: What are Legionella Bacteria?

Legionella bacteria can be found in any water system, they can enter your building from the mains water supply. Unfortunately conditions found in man-made building water supplies can cause Legionella Bacteria to multiply to harmful levels.

Legionella Bacteria grow quickly when they are kept in warm conditions, where there is stagnant water and when they have a food source.

Conditions that promote the growth of legionella bacteria include the following:

  • warm water temperatures of 20-45°C
  • scale in pipework
  • water stagnation
  • biofilm growth (a complex microbiological system that will form on the internal surfaces of pipework)

In high levels Legionella Bacteria has the potential to be fatal.

How can Legionella Bacteria harm people?

Legionella bacteria can cause two types of illness Legionnaires’ Disease and Pontiac fever, Legionnaires Disease is a potentially fatal illness that will affect peoples’ lungs. Initial symptoms will be flu like symptoms, headaches and chills which then develop into pneumonia, it is more likely to affect the immunosuppressed (people on drugs for cancer or AIDS), people over the age of 50, and men are 3 times more likely to get ill than women. Pontiac fever is a milder, non-fatal form of the illness and will not affect the lungs, however, it is obviously better to prevent people contracting the disease in first place.

How Do People Contract Legionnaires’ Disease?

There are several things that must occur together for people to contract Legionnaires’ disease.

1) There must be legionella bacteria in the water system

2) The conditions of the water system allow multiplication of legionella bacteria: This would be warm water, a food source, heavy scale

3) The water must create an aerosol: Aerosol generators would be showers, taps, especially those on a Belfast sink, sprinkler systems and pressure washers, etc

4) The aerosol created must be inhaled by a susceptible person and penetrate their lungs.

The main issues with showers are:

  • Showers create an aerosol, students can inhale the fine mist which can enter the lungs.
  • Showers are often supplied by mixer valves, mixer valves have a high surface area and are generally manufactured in plastic and therefore allow biofilm growth (a biofilm is a complex matrix of bacteria including legionella which are covered in a sticky layer of polysaccharide).
  • Shower hoses can be a breeding ground for a biofilm slime.
  • They are often a terminal point (last outlet on a run) in a system and can become little used.

Prevent Legionella Bacteria and keep your students safe

Therefore, it is really important when ensuring the safety of your students that you use an effective chemical disinfectant and descaler, this will ensure the cleanliness of your showers. In halls of residence there are hundreds of showers therefore one chemical (SafeSol’s DD1) will make the process of cleaning and descaling showerheads much easier.

Simple and easy to use, simply add the DD1 to water, leave the showerheads and hoses to steep for an hour, rinse and replace.

The job can be simply and easily carried out during holiday times.

The DD1 is safe for your staff to handle and minimal PPE would be needed.

DD1 is kind to chrome, plastic and rubber seals and it won’t damage showers with long term use.

DD1 will remove biofilm where the majority of bacteria including legionella and pseudomonas live making showers safer for your students.

SafeSol have worked with Huwa-San technology for over 20 years and have more than 75 years experience in water treatment. We are happy to help with any queries and provide technical support .

Call 0191 4478008 or